Melinda Watts weighed 160 pounds when the photo on the left was taken in October 2016. In the photo on the right, taken in August, Watts weighed 143 pounds. (Photographs contributed by Melinda Watts)

Melinda Watts, 29, of Dallas, Ga., lost 32 pounds

SUCCESS STORY / Melinda Watts, 29: From 175 pounds to 143 pounds

Former weight: 175 pounds

Current weight: 143 pounds

Pounds lost: 32 pounds

Height: 5 feet 3 inches

Age: 29 years

How long she’s kept it off: She started in January and reached her current weight in August.

Personal life: “I recently graduated from Life University in Marietta with a degree in business,” Watts said. “My husband and I live in Dallas, Ga., with our two dogs: Luna and Eva. We’ve been married for three years. … I currently work at Stability Pilates and Physical Therapy as the office manager.”

Turning point: “I felt sluggish most of the time, and lots of my clothes just didn’t quite fit or not how I wanted them to,” Watts said. “I knew I wasn’t happy and wanted to make a change, and this was the time to do it. I have known (wellness coach) Jacynta Harb,, for a few years and wanted to try out her wellness classes. … From the first class I was hooked; her energy and knowledge are truly captivating. … I like to tell people that it is not a diet but a lifestyle change. … I changed how, when and what I ate. I made conscious decisions about what I was putting into my body.”

Diet plan: “Again, I don’t like to call it a diet because this isn’t something I’m doing for a certain period of time — it is a way of life for me,” Watts said. Breakfast is oatmeal, lunch is a salad. Dinner is protein, veggies and fruit. Snacks are Greek yogurt and Lärabars.

Exercise routine: “My exercise before consisted of playing softball once a week on a coed softball team that I manage,” she said. “In January, right after I joined Sparkle, I joined Orangetheory Fitness in Kennesaw. I love that each time you go it’s a different template and incorporates the treadmill, rower and weight room.”

Biggest challenge: “I’d say that my biggest challenge has been adding more vegetables into my diet. I have always been a picky eater, and vegetables are far from my favorite,” Watts said. “This year I have played around with cooking a variety of vegetables. … One other big challenge for me is being too tired to cook or not having enough time to cook … if I don’t have something already made.”

How life has changed: “I feel much more confident in myself. I feel happier and healthier,” Watts said. “My friends and family have been so supportive and encouraging. … I have met my first goal of losing 30 pounds, but I still would like to lose a little more and tone up my muscles. I also had set a goal of doing a 5K a month, and I am two away from accomplishing that goal. … One motto I followed was ‘keep moving forward.’ … No matter how much I wanted to resort to my old ways or not go to the gym that day, I pushed myself to keep moving forward.”

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